By Nick Bester
Photos by Nick Bester and Dickon Thompson
It’s been two years since I visited my motherland, South Africa, and WOW did I forget how difficult a parkrun is on this side of the world. The parkrun I did is called Ebotse parkrun and is situated on the east side of Johannesburg and is a beast from the east.
There has recently been some seriously hot weather in South Africa and this morning was no different. parkrun starts an hour earlier in South Africa and just as well as it was a soaring 31 degrees at 8am. There were 467 runners that participated in the event. I managed to come second which was a very distant second as the winner managed to do 16:31 which was almost two minutes faster than me. He came past me at such a speed, it made me look like I was looking for parking. To give an idea of how tough this parkrun is, I did Dulwich parkrun three weeks prior in 16:30. My time for this parkrun was 18:22 with a very similar effort level. It must have been the heat, running on uneven grass and dodging the Springboks. Bester was clearly not at his best this week.
The vibe was very festive with all the marshals wearing Christmas hats. The main reason why we do Ebotse parkrun is for the killer breakfast we get afterwards and it was definitely worth it. It was actually my bachelors later that day so decided to have a shot and cocktail with my breakfast to get into the swing of things.
But what happened at Tooting?
This week 414 people ran, jogged and walked the course, of whom 49 were first timers and 18 were running their first ever parkrun. 64 recorded new Personal Bests and representatives of 30 different clubs took part.
The event was made possible by our fabulous first time Run Director Nicola LYTTLE and 34 other volunteers:
Sai-Yee LAM • Sandhya DREW • Alessandra MCCONVILLE • Emily FOY • John KAZANTZIS • Kathryn EVANS • Nick BESTER • Mark SHOTTON • Maureen KENNY • Edward REES • Stuart MORRISON • Carol MCCALL • Richard BOGLE • Matthew EASTALL • Tom BAKER • Laura SWAN • Cecilia BOGLE • Stuart HAMILTON • Holly HAMILTON • Kat HARDY-KING • Marian KELLY • Kris CHADWICK • Alice HORNE • Howard COAN • Andy STRINGER • April MARRETTA LORD • Dana ELFRING • Oli GRIFFITHS • Simon GALLACHER • Dickon THOMPSON • Rosy ALEXANDER • Anna METCALFE • Francis ROSENBERG • Thomas WILLIAMSON
Matthew CARTWRIGHT (SM25-29) of Herne Hill Harriers was first over the line in 17:53.
Matthew DUCKETT (SM25-29) was second over the line in a new PB of 18:14.
Tomas O’HANLON (SM25-29) was third over the line in 18:48.
Sophie JOHNSON (SW20-24) of Guildford and Godalming AC was first over the line in 20:52.
Ruth Jean CHALMERS (SW30-34) of Herne Hill Harriers was second over the line in 20:53.
Claire PARKER (SW30-34) was third over the line in 20:57 in her first ever appearance at Tooting Common parkrun.
Milestone shout outs are due to Scarlett WATTS and Lisa PICKERING, who both ran their 100th parkruns with us today, and Paul CANE, Stephen WORTLEY, Rupert NAYLOR, Sophie JOHNSON and Piers MASON who all ran their 50th parkruns. Piers also marked the occasion with a new PB. Finally, George GOWLAND, Sam MYCROFT and Jarvis HINES ran their 10th parkruns as juniors.
Aside from those mentioned above, other PBs from today worthy of mention are as follows:
- Our junior stars of the week were Julian SAKROUGE, Alex GUEST, Lydia MYCROFT and Caitlin CHILTON, who recorded new PBs of 23:38, 24:57, 36:40 and 24:03 respectively.
- April MARRETTA LORD made it a volunteer and PB double, helping set up the finish funnel and recording a new best of 27:41.
- Rachel VICKERS recorded her best ever parkrun time with 22:58.
- Matthew EASTALL, Harriet NORTH and Jane TINGLE smashed the 20, 25 and 30 minute barriers with times of 19:50, 24:58 and 29:58 respectively.
- Lucinda HIGGIE ran with us for the second time and improved on the time she set a fortnight ago by an astonishing 5 minutes and 8 seconds to cross the line in 36:19! Well done, Lucinda!